Interviews with missing Saudi journalist's family dismissed as 'propaganda'
Social media users have cast doubts on the validity of statements made by the family of a missing Saudi journalist to a pro-government mouthpiece.
The family of Jamal Khashoggi told Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya on Sunday that they "trusted" the investigation being conducted by Saudi authorities into the mysterious disappearance despite allegations the journalist had been murdered by Saudi government agents.
"We trust the government and the actions taken by it and all the efforts being made in the case of Jamal Khashoggi," a legal representative of the family was quoted as saying.
"The whole subject is a personal matter and is far from a political framework," Salah Khashoggi was quoted as saying.
He also reportedly called on his father's Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz to stop speaking to the media about the disappearance.
Online commenters were quick to dismiss the remarks and accused authorities of blackmailing the family into making them.
"It is unfortunate what Al-Arabiya has done. They should let Salah leave Saudi Arabia then interview him. He is banned from travelling even though he has a US passport," said veteran journalist Yasser Abuhilala.
Another Twitter user said: "Forcing the sons' of the victim to say what the Pharaoh wants is yet another attack in the disappearance of Khashoggi."
Activist-run group Prisoners of Conscience reported on Saturday that Khashoggi's family were in "bad shape" and that one of his daughters has suffered a "total breakdown and was now in a semi-comatose state".
Khashoggi, who has been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after an appointment with Saudi officials on Tuesday at the consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year to avoid possible arrest, after criticising Prince Mohammed's intervention in Yemen and the blockade of Qatar.
On Saturday, Turkish officials told multiple international news agencies that they thought Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi authorities.
Saudi Arabia has been engulfed by several controversies since Prince Mohammed was named crown prince and heir to the throne in June 2017.
The young prince has stepped up repression of religious, intellectual and feminist dissidents and has been behind an increasingly aggressive foreign policy.